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Events in telecommunications history


In FebruaryNorthern Ireland became the first UK region outside London to have all its exchanges enabled for broadband.

BT began the transfer of consumer and business customers to super-fast standard broadband, up to 2Mbit/s (four times faster than previous speeds) at no extra cost in February.

BT reached its target of five million broadband lines in April, one year ahead of schedule.

BT Fusion, the world's first combined mobile and fixed phone, was launched on 15 June. BT Fusion works just like a mobile phone when the customer is out and about, but switches automatically and seamlessly onto a BT Broadband line when they get home, combining the convenience and features of a mobile with fixed line prices and quality. In July BT chaired the inaugural meeting of the Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance, where BT and five other world-leading telecommunications operators worked to accelerate the development of Fixed-Mobile Convergence products and services.

Following the Telecommunications Strategic Review (TSR), BT signed legally-binding Undertakings with Ofcom on 22 September to help create a better regulatory framework for BT and the UK telecoms industry generally. The settlement, which followed Ofcom's acceptance of legally binding undertakings from BT, is based on the principle of focusing regulation only where it is needed and rolling it back elsewhere and included the creation of Openreach on 11 January 2006.

An online version of the phone book was launched in September [link to www.thephonebook.bt.com], providing advertisers at no extra cost with their listing included on the website as well as in the printed directory.

BT won the Most Admired Company Award community and environmental responsibility category. Awarded in December by Management Today and Mercer Human Resources, the company was judged by peer review from the UK's 220 largest companies. Chief executive Ben Verwaayen was also singled out for praise in the most admired leaders section.

In 2005BT completed the acquisition of Infonet, rebranded BT Infonet ( £520 million); acquired the 74 per cent of Albacom that it did not already own (minimum £80 million); and completed the acquisition of Radianz ( £107 million). BT also completed the sale of its 4 per cent stake in Instelsat ( £65 million).